||Phylogenetic relationships among heterocytous genera (the Nostocales order) have been profoundly modified since the use of polyphasic approaches that include molecular data. There is nonetheless still ample scope for improving phylogenetic delineations of genera with broad ecological distributions, particularly by integrating specimens from specific or up-to-now poorly sampled habitats. In this context, we studied 36 new isolates belonging to Chrysosporum, Dolichospermum, Anabaena, Anabaenopsis, and Cylindrospermopsis from freshwater ecosystems of Burkina-Faso, Senegal, and Mayotte Island. Studying strains from these habitats is of particular interest as we suspected different range of salt variations during underwent periods of drought in small ponds and lakes. Such salt variation may cause different adaptation to salinity. We then undertook a polyphasic approach, combining molecular phylogenies, morphological analyses, and physiological measurements of tolerance to salinity. Molecular phylogenies of 117 Nostocales sequences showed that the 36 studied strains were distributed in seven lineages: Dolichospermum, Chrysosporum, Cylindrospermopsis Raphidiopsis, Anabaenopsis, Anabaena sphaerica var tenuis/Sphaerospermopsis, and two independent Anabaena sphaerica lineages. Physiological data were congruent with molecular results supporting the separation into seven lineages. In an evolutionary context, salinity tolerance can be used as an integrative marker to reinforce the delineation of some cyanobacterial lineages. The history of this physiological trait contributes to a better understanding of processes leading to the divergence of cyanobacteria. In this study, most of the cyanobacterial strains isolated from freshwater environments were salt-tolerant, thus suggesting this trait constituted an ancestral trait of the heterocytous cyanobacteria and that it was probably lost two times secondarily and independently in the ancestor of Dolichospermum and of Cylindrospermopsis. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.